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Plymouth Church

Arts and Entertainment, Brooklyn Heights, Events, Music

The Impressions Rock Plymouth

January 12, 2014

The Impressions’ gospel-rooted rhythm ‘n’ blues, prominent on the pop charts during the struggle to end Jim Crow’s dominion, has been called the soundtrack of the civil rights movement. They have a rich history. Founded in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1958–Sam Gooden, at left in the photo above, was a founding member–they later moved to Chicago and added Jerry “The Ice Man” Butler and Curtis Mayfield. Fred Cash, at right in the photo, joined in 1960. Butler left in 1962. Mayfield, who wrote many of the group’s best loved songs, stayed until 1970. After launching his solo career, Mayfield maintained a close relationship with the Impressions, continuing to write material for and produce them. He died on Boxing Day, 1999. After many changes in personnel, Mayfield’s position as lead singer is now ably–in my estimation–filled by Reggie Torrian, at center in the photo. In July of 2013 The Impresssions released a single, the Mayfield penned “Rhythm,” on Brooklyn’s Daptone Records.

The Impressions were the headline act for Saturday night’s “Free the Slaves” concert at Plymouth Church. Before the music began, The Rev. Al Bunis, Plymouth’s Interim Senior Minister, introduced Maurice I. Middleberg, Executive Director of Free the Slaves, an organization devoted to ending slavery in the contemporary world.

The Inspirational Voices of Abyssinian began the concert, opening with a spirited rendition of “Freedom’s Way,” and finishing their set with a rousing South African song that had the audeince clapping, shouting, and singing along.

Next up were Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens. They opened with the classic “One More River to Cross,” followed it with Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” and finished with an intense “What have You Done?” Ms. Shelton’s vocal dynamics were enthralling.

Before the Impressions took the stage, there was a lively instrumental interlude performed by Daptone records’ The Dap-Kings, featuring Binky Griptite on guitar. The Dap-Kings remained on stage to serve as the Impressions’ becking band, with the addition of Fred Cash’s son on bass.

The Impressions started their set with “We’re a Winner,” a 1967 hit that was an inspiration to me during my first year of law school. Next came the 1963 classic “It’s All Right”, followed by “Keep On Pushing,” then by what is their signature song, the soul anthem “People Get Ready.” Just before the song’s conclusion, after the words “You don’t need a ticket,” Reggie Torrian stopped the music and delivered a brief sermon that would have done The Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts proud, ending with the song’s final words, “Thank the Lord.”

Their next song, “Choice of Color”, waa released in 1969, a time when racial tensions were high. They were slated to appear on a late night talk show, The Joey Bishop Show, but before they went on they were told that ABC management had decided they should not do this song. They told Mr. Bishop, who said they should go ahead and sing it. “Choice of Color” was followed by a rousing “This Is My Country”.

After “My Country,” the Impressions left the stage, and Binky Griptite summoned Naomi Shelton back up for another song. The Impressions then returned and sang “Mighty Mighty (Spade & Whitey)”. The concluding song of their set, “Move On Up”, brought the audience to its feet:

Called back for an encore, they closed the show with the romantic ballad “I’m So Proud”, which showcased Mr. Torrian’s soaring tenor.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Brooklyn Heights, Events, Kids, Music

The Impressions Head the Bill for Free the Slaves Concert at Plymouth

December 31, 2013

Plymouth Church is known for its pre-eminent role, under the leadership of Henry Ward Beecher, in the anti-slavery movement before the Civil War. While the Emancipation Proclamation declared the slaves free, and the Thirteenth Amendment abolished the “peculiar institution,” slavery still exists in the United States, and, on a larger scale, elsewhere in the world. Human trafficking for the sex trade is the best known aspect, but there is also slavery of the sort common in the antebellum South–men and women forced to do field or factory or domestic labor without pay and while held in bondage–in almost all parts of the world. Indeed, it is estimated that today there are more people held in slavery than ever in history.

The Brooklyn Historical society, Plymouth Church, and Free the Slaves, an organization that is combating slavery of all kinds throughout the world, are presenting two events, a roundtable discussion at BHS on Friday, january 10, and a concert at Plymouth on Saturday, January 11, featuring the Impressions (video above), the Inspirational Voices of Abyssinian Baptist Church, Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens, and members of the Dap-Kings. The roundtable discussion begins at 7:00 p.m. Friday, but the BHS doors will open at 6:00 to allow you a sneak peek at the new exhibit “Brooklyn Abolitionists in Pursuit of Freedom.” Admission to this event is free, but you must reserve tickets here. The concert, which is a benefit for Free the Slaves, starts at 8:00 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $25 or, for VIP seating, $150, and may be purchased here.

There is more information here.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Books, Brooklyn Heights

New Book Tells History of Plymouth Church in Antislavery Movement and Civil War

October 18, 2013

This evening there was a book launch party at Plymouth Church for Brooklyn’s Plymouth Church in the Civil War Era: a Ministry of Freedom, (History Press, Charleston, SC, 2013) a new book by church member Frank Decker, assisted by Lois Rosebrooks, Plymouth’s Director of History Ministry Services. The book tells the story of Plymouth’s role in the antislavery movement in the years leading up to the war, led by its dynamic abolitionist minister Henry Ward Beecher; its participation in the “Underground Railroad” for escaping slaves; and its efforts in support of the Union cause during the war. You can read more about the book and order it here.

Your correspondent’s wife attended the book launch and took this photo of Mr. Decker and Ms. Rosebrooks.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Brooklyn Heights, Events, Food

Danish Fair is a Hit

November 18, 2012

This was the scene in Hilles Hall, Plymouth Church yesterday (Saturday) afternoon, as people kept coming in and lining up for the buffet of open faced sandwiches (as always, I particularly liked the briny little shrimp with mayonnaise and lettuce, although the country style pate with sweet pickled beets was also excellent). Carlsberg lager was a perfect accompaniment, and afterward there were apple fritters and pastry. (More photos and text after the jump.)

During our lunch Irene (left) and Julie conducted a lively auction of Danish goods to raise money for the Danish Seamen’s Church.

Having eaten our fill, we walked over to the Danish Seamen’s Church at 102 Willow Street (just south of Clark) to see what was on sale. Julemanden, the Danish Santa, was on the front steps to greet us. Inside, many shoppers were looking at Christmas ornaments, toys, clogs, candy, cookies, and assorted delicacies. The line for food and beverage service in the back garden extended well into the church, so I resolved to return today (Sunday) for my glogg. The fair will be open today, at the Danish Seamen’s Church only, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Arts and Entertainment, Brooklyn Heights, Events

Grace Church Celebrates Paul Olson’s 20 Years’ Service With Party, New Hymn

October 22, 2012

Paul Richard Olson has completed twenty years’ service as Organist and Choirmaster at Grace Church, as well as Music Specialist at Grace Church School (he is shown in the photo giving an introductory lesson on the church’s Austin Organ). Today, there was a celebratory brunch in the church’s Guild Hall to mark the occasion. As a special honor to Paul, the hymnist Jacque B. Jones, a member of Plymouth Church, wrote the lyrics to a new hymn, “As Starlight Warms to Daybreak,” which she set to a Swedish melody in recognition of Paul’s Scandinavian heritage. There’s a video of the assembled multitude singing the hymn after the jump.

Piano accompaniment was provided by Craig Whitney, retired New York Times editor and Grace Church parishioner, as well as author of All the Stops: the Glorious Pipe Organ and its American Masters, a must read for fans of the King of Instruments.

Photo: Grace Church; video by Martso.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Brooklyn Heights

Underground Thrift Hosts Semi-Annual Stuff-A-Sack This Sunday, August 12

August 10, 2012

This Sunday, August 12, the Underground Thrift Store at Plymouth Church, will hold its Semi-Annual Stuff-a-Sack summer clearance sale on men’s, women’s and children’s clothing. Shoppers can purchase a $25 tote and stuff it with as much clothing as they can muster. In addition, you can purchase individual items at 50% off. The sale runs from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., with 25% of proceeds supporting anti-slavery and human trafficking causes.

Address: 65 Hicks Street between Orange & Cranberry streets in Brooklyn Heights.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Plymouth Church Underground Thrift Store: Save 25% This Sunday

July 19, 2012

Bargain hunters alert: The Underground Thrift Store at Plymouth Church features 25% off all clothing beginning this Sunday, July 22. You’ll find a “curated collection of upscale and designer clothing and accessories for women, men and children,” along with collectibles for the home. Location: Upstairs at Plymouth Church, 65 Hicks Street between Orange & Cranberry streets in Brooklyn Heights. Summer hours are Sundays from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

The Underground Thrift donates 25% of its net proceeds to organizations that fight human trafficking and modern-day slavery. See their Facebook page here. (Photo: Brooklyn Heights Press)

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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